Every person that’s ever swung a golf club acknowledges the hard work and talent needed to progress to get on Tour – and then retain your card – but Chris Hanson knows first hand after competing on every mini tour, the European Challenge Tour for five seasons and the European Tour for three. He reached the heights of leading the Sky Sports British Masters after 54 holes in 2017 and finishing tied sixth in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in 2018, however, the Yorkshireman unfortunately lost his card at the end of that season. He had no luck earning a Tour card from the Challenge Tour in 2019 and has now set his sights on working on the unique ‘2020protour’, that was set up alongside Adam Walker, which ‘puts the players first’ and features professional men, women and amateurs. The first event was ‘The Eye Doctor Classic’ at Crosland Heath on March 16th and there are 22 tournaments scheduled for the rest of the season with the season-finale being the ‘DP Porter Tour Final’ featuring the top 50 players in the Order of Merit. Scott Grayston asks Hanson all about the new tour that has seen the likes of Marcus Armitage and Matt Baldwin competing on, and whether or not he sees himself playing at the top echelons of the sport again.

Worldwide Golf: Can you tell us all about the new 2020protour Tour you’ve set up? Where did the idea come from? 

Chris Hanson: Adam Walker and I launched the 2020protour at the end of November 2019 at a Media Day at Huddersfield Golf Club. It was an idea/something we had discussed for year and years. Both of us have played every mini tour and level of development tour around so felt we had a good understanding of what players wanted and needed.

We wanted to create more playing opportunities for players at an affordable price, with low expenses and the best return for their money as possible – the tour take no money from the prize funds so all money after green fees are taken off go back to the players.

With limited playing opportunities for female players, and the experience I gained from playing in the mixed event in Jordan last year, we really wanted to include female golfers in the 2020protour vision, so we went with the same policy of the European Tour where the female players play a course at least 11% shorter course. So far its seems to be working and the positive feedback from the female players has been great.

The first two events were rearranged due to flooding but that was probably a blessing in disguise as once we rearranged them they attracted 60+ players to each event.

It’s also been quite incredible the number of amateur golfers who have also shown a big interest in the tour, they have really wanted to test themselves against professionals in a tournament environment.

WWG: What kinds of players are competing?

CH: Here are a few of the players who have competed so far:

  • Marcus Armitage
  • Nick Marsh
  • Meg McClaren
  • Nick McCarthy
  • Callum Tarren
  • Charlie Ford
  • Charlotte Austwick
  • Sophie Lamb
  • Sophie Powell
  • Marco Penge
  • John Parry
  • Paul Streeter
  • Matthew Baldwin
  • George Bloor

WWG: What’s the future aim of the Tour?

To continue to give more value to the players, create more member benefits, more playing opportunities, bigger prize funds, and then who knows where it will grow… 1 day, 2 days, 4 days, UK, Europe… We are optimistic but there’s no doubt challenging times are ahead.

It would be amazing to get a big sponsor behind us, it would then allow us to grow the tour and take it to the next level!

WWG: Will you be competing on it? Are you still playing?

I won’t be playing on the 2020protour tour. I suppose I could as the tour take no money from the prize fund – and it has been discussed, but it would feel strange if I managed to win an event and then have to present myself the winner’s cheque. Myself and Adam want to make sure it works so we have to be hands-on during the days, and it’s something I’ve really enjoyed so far.

WWG: Do you still have the hunger to try and return to the European Tour?

CH: It’s testing times for everyone at the moment, we don’t know where we are going to play so it’s tough to say. I currently have the hunger to return, I want to return but it takes a lot more than that! The European Tour is an incredible place to play golf and make a living, but to get there or back there, as I know, is an extremely tough task.

WWG: What was your highlight from playing on Tour?

CH: These have got to be my favourite achievements:

  • Finishing T6th in the 2018 Dubai Desert Classic is a huge highlight for me. I never expected to feature in such a high profile event on a course that offers so many birdies.
  • Leading the British Masters for over 54 holes was a highlight too, then of course playing the 2014 Open Championship.
  • And how can I forget the two top 5’s in Morocco.

Find out more about the 2020protour here: https://2020protour.co.uk

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